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EURES (EURopean Employment Services)
News article24 May 2024European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion3 min read

Portugal to Sweden: how a paediatric nurse moved for new experiences and career progression

Nurse Margarida Garcia moved from Lisbon, Portugal, to Gothenburg, Sweden in June 2023. By doing so, she was reunited with her partner, who was already working in the city as a software engineer.

Margarida Garcia

Margarida Garcia, aged 23, and her partner Pedro wanted to move countries within Europe for new experiences, to progress their careers and – in the future – to raise a family. Margarida, who studied to be a nurse before spending a year working in a neonatal hospital department in Almada, Portugal, says their ambition was always to move for better working conditions and to be able to live independently. “The objective has always been something in Europe, such as the Nordic countries, due to the better resources offered,” she says. “They are more developed countries and offer a good balance between professional and personal life.” The decision of where to go was made when Pedro received a job offer in Gothenburg, Sweden. Margarida joined him there five months later and is now a nurse in paediatric cardiology at Gothenburg’s university hospital. 

Inspired by their experiences of moving to Sweden, the couple are now setting up their own recruitment agency, Europe Connected by Talents, to help Swedish companies recruit healthcare and engineering professionals from across the EU and to deal with the paperwork. In the future, they would like to see their company join the EURES network. 

Practical steps 

Margarida started out by studying Swedish in order to reach the required level of proficiency for healthcare workers. “I studied and took classes for nine months while I continued to work in Portugal,” she says. “Closer to the end of the course, after finding a job, I moved to Gothenburg, where I worked as a nursing assistant while finishing the last module of the Swedish course, which undoubtedly helped me a lot to develop the language and adapt to the country smoothly.”

The process was straightforward, says Margarida, thanks to support from EURES. But there have been difficult times. “Without a doubt, the most challenging part of this journey has been dealing with missing my family and friends, but it’s something I’m dealing with by constantly going to Portugal and reminding myself that all of this is for a better life for me and for my family in the future,” she says. 

Margarida adds: “I believe that the best thing about this change was the personal growth it brings us. Starting a life together in a new country where we don’t know other people makes us develop aspects that we didn’t know before, as well as discover a little more about ourselves, and experience new things. It’s intense and not always easy but without a doubt something that I highly recommend and everyone should go through.”

How EURES helped

Margarida discovered EURES through her Swedish language teacher. “It really is a great help and opens a lot of doors for those looking to change countries,” she says. “In my case I received financial support for the various Swedish courses I took, for the in-person interview and also for relocation in Sweden. It’s definitely something that I try to promote as much as possible with people interested in changing because the support is incredible.”

Gloria Cunha Byström, who is a member of the EURES Sweden Health Recruitment Team, advised Margarida and was able to pass on her CV to the relevant employer. “Margarida contacted us regarding job search and information about the Targeted Mobility Scheme (TMS),” says Gloria. “I provided Margarida with information about living and working in Sweden, about the health sector, and information on the application procedure for TMS allowances.” She adds: “It was great to work with Margarida because of her determination and ambition.”

Gloria advises other EU health workers who would like to move to Sweden, first to apply to have their qualifications recognised by the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) and then to start learning Swedish. 

For more information, contact the team at healthatarbetsformedingen [dot] se (health[at]arbetsformedingen[dot]se).

Find out more about living and working in Sweden


Related links:

EURES Sweden

Information on having qualifications recognised by Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare

Targeted Mobility Scheme

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